• Michael Heaton

    Heritage Consultants

  • Professional & Technical Support

    Planning & management of works affecting archaeological sites & historic buildings

  • Making knowledge work for you
  • Since 1996

    Working with a wide range of clients, from property developers and private clients to national government and the National Trust

Archaeological Consultancy

Case Studies


Small commercial/residential development, Hampshire. c. 3000 sq m.

Planning consents had been secured without prior archaeological evaluation, requiring the applicant to commission a 'watching brief' specifically allowing the archaeological contractor to halt construction works for the purpose of detailed and extensive investigations, if necessary. Leaving aside the H&S implications of this approach, it made budgeting and tendering the construction works impossible. The client was persuaded to commission an evaluation to a tight specification, which demonstrated the archaeological potential of the site to be significantly less than the LPA had presumed.

Construction was allowed to proceed on the basis of a 'light touch' watching brief specified to record the spatial extent of a small number of specific features. Total archaeological costs: £3-£4k.

Major highway improvements, Hants/Surrey border. c. 3km length.

This length of the A325 passes through the Alice Holt Roman pottery kiln complex - one of the country's most important archaeological sites and a legally protected Scheduled Monument. Continued subsidence required upgrading of the embankments, necessitating excavation within the Scheduled Monument.

Desk study and comprehensive evaluation characterised the archaeological remains and their spatial extent and thickness, demonstrating that detailed and extensive archaeological site operations were required only at the southern end of the 3km length. Nonetheless, because of the logistics of road-closure and traffic management, all archaeological site operations would have to be undertaken in parallel with construction works. The huge quantities of pottery identified by the evaluation - all of which requires processing and quantification - placed significant price risk on tendering archaeological contractors and the client. So, in consultation with English Heritage, the LPA's archaeological officer and other key stakeholders, a scheme of works was devised allowing for rapid assessment and discard of 90% of the pottery on site and pricing based on measured valuation. This not only placed a time-imperative on the the contractor, it also allowed the engineers to cost the archaeological implications of various design strategies without having to re-tender.

All archaeological site operations were completed on-time and well within budget and the results have been published academically to the credit of all concerned. Total archaeological costs: Desk study £1.5K; evaluation c. £10k; excavation and analyses contract value £122k, actual cost £82K (saving of c. 30%)

Small residential backland development, Hampshire. c. 2500 sq m.

Planning consents had been secured, without prior archaeological evaluation, on the basis of extensive, expensive and prolonged archaeological works in the adjacent site. General enquiries by the client returned substantial estimates for this site as well. The 'discrete' nature of the archaeological remains here makes evaluation difficult and unreliable, placing significant price risk on tendering contractors, but allows for rapid quantification once overburden is removed.

The client and their construction manager were therefore persuaded to strip the site in advance under archaeological supervision and, with the approval of the LPA's archaeological officer, tendering contractors were invited to price to a detailed specification on the basis of their visual inspection of the site. This 'risk-free' approach, from the contractors' perspective, resulted in substantial savings in archaeological costs. Total archaeological costs: c. £3-£4k.